Mar 18, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) talks with starting pitcher Ricky Romero (24) on the mound in the third inning in a spring training exhibition game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays Morning Brew: Romero Recap, Happ is Back, Morrow Looks Better


Adam Berry recaps yesterday’s rough outing for Ricky Romero at BlueJays.com. Ricky struggled with command and control, throwing only 23 of his 57 pitches for strikes with five walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter. He told reporters after the game “I’ve had [too many] positives this spring to let one outing set me back.” However yesterday wasn’t the first time he’s had spotty control and for the most part his command is still non-existent. I’m not counting Romero out of an eventual comeback by any means but yesterday was a reality check for the 29-year-old lefty.

In the same game, Marcus Stroman threw batting practice to the Detroit Tigers (h/t John Lott, National Post) but to be honest, I’d really like to avoid talking about it. Okay I will, a bit. Stroman needs to stay on top of the ball and work down in the zone to find consistent success at the major league level. If he leaves the ball up, he’s more than hittable. You could say that about any pitcher really but this is where his height works against him – when he works up, he gets little-to-no plane on his pitches, making them flat and much easier to hit than a 6’6 giant who is still throwing down, even when it’s up in the zone.

Brandon Morrow also pitched yesterday in a minor league intersquad game after his scheduled Triple-A outing was cancelled due to wet fields (h/t Adam Berry, BlueJays.com). Taking on teammate Mark Buehrle, it was Morrow’s longest outing of the spring as he threw 63 total pitches with 36 being for strikes. Berry reports Morrow’s fastball velocity ranged from 90-95 MPH, sitting mostly at 92-93. He allowed two walk and two earned runs with two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings and sounds optimistic about the outing.

“Everything’s coming along well. I got established what I wanted to establish today with the fastball command, with the nice zip and pop on that, and you could see the guys were behind it at times, regardless of the velocity. It wasn’t my best velocity, but the swings tell you whether or not you’re locating well and the kind of life on it, so that was positive. Everything else has been coming along really well.”

Buehrle went 4 1/3 and gave up five hits, two walks, two earned runs while striking out three. Outfielder Kenny Wilson homered off Buehrle while Erik Kratz and Josh Thole handled the catching duties.

Lefty J.A. Happ is scheduled to return to the mound today and will start against the Philadelphia Phillies. He hasn’t pitched since March 3rd and has more walks this spring (5) than outs (4). To be fair, we should probably wait until he’s healthy to make any final judgement but I think for the most part, we know who Happ is – a pitcher who is just a shade above replacement level and should not be starting for a team that plans to compete in the American League East.

Tags: Brandon Morrow Featured J.A. Happ Popular Ricky Romero Toronto Blue Jays

  • Andrew van Laar

    I disagree about being fair to Happ until he is healthy. Even healthy he isn’t much better. Just sayin…

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      Sadly I still see him as the team’s fifth best starter, I’d still take his pedigree over Redmond at this point (if Happ is healthy).

      • Andrew van Laar

        What pedigree? He has none. He’s never been a half decent starter in his career. Honestly I would give Redmond the chance and see what he does. Happ has an option doesn’t he? Last year he did so I am assuming that is still around? Let Redmond go with it, keep Rogers as a swingman and send Happ to AAA and make him work for his job.

        • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

          I know Happ has been mediocre at best but we are comparing him to guy who has never been good enough to even crack a MLB roster out of camp. I’m not expecting him to be good but if he’s healthy I’m not expecting him to be horrendous either. Will probably have an ERA 4.50-5.00, WHIP around 1.4-1.5. Most projections expect his WAR to be in the 1.5 range, which is at least stomachable.

          • Andrew van Laar

            You don’t think Redmond can do better than those numbers? I know everyone says he has a two pitch repertoire, but this spring people are not hitting him too bad so maybe his two pitches are good enough to be a 5th starter. If teams catch on after a few months, bring in Happ. Just give us a chance out of the gate and don’t ensure that the 5th start is a hopeless cause.

          • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

            I honestly don’t. He struggled last season facing batters for the second and third time, I like how he can get through innings quick but with only 80 big league IP under his belt I have a feeling once batters start to figure him out, it will be over for Redmond.

          • Andrew van Laar

            I don’t want to fight with you Michael. Lets just be best friends and agree I am right OK? :D

          • Andrew van Laar

            I also don’t want to point out Happs latest work of art today…

          • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

            lol nothing wrong with a little friendly debate… i’ll give you this round though.

            van Laar 1, Wray 0

          • Kevin

            I agree with you Wray, Redmond hasn’t impressed me and Happ has a lot of experience under his belt.

          • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

            +1